By Christina Hermoso
Cubao Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco will preside over a high mass at 12 noon tomorrow at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on Kanlaon Street in Quezon City, in solemn commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, marking the 160th anniversary of the series of apparitions of the Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 at the Cave of Massabielle in Lourdes, France.
With the theme “Mary in the Life of Priests and Consecrated Men and Women,” fourteen masses will be held at the church by the hour from 5 a.m. to 12 noon and from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The grand procession will be held at 6 p.m. The Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, novena masses, and a torch procession were held from Feb. 2 to 10, while the annual Blessing of the Sick was held last Feb. 3. Today’s Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes coincides with the observance ofthe 26th World Day of the Sick.
In Lourdes, France, hundreds of devotees, pilgrims, and tourists traditionally gather at the basilica that was constructed at the site of the apparitions, as well as at the miraculous well, where healing of both the body and the spirit have been reported.
The Catholic Church had recognized more than 60 miraculous cures at Lourdes, a popular destination for pilgrimages, healings, and spiritual renewal.
According to stories, the Holy Mother, wearing a white dress with a blue belt, a rosary in her hands, and two golden roses at her feet, appeared to a poor and sickly girl, St. Bernadette, at least 16 times starting on Feb. 11, 1858 at the Cave of Massabielle in Lourdes. She asked her to pray the Holy Rosary for the conversion of sinners, to build a chapel on the site of the apparitions, and to drink from a spring of miraculous water nearby. The Blessed Mother introduced herself as the “Immaculate Conception.”